The Diamondbacks completed their ten game road trip yesterday with a win against the Pirates. The win salvaged a split in the four game set with the Buccos and a 6-4 road trip that should be considered a success. The unfortunate thing is that the team started their trip on the road with a 4-0 record meaning they finished 2-4 as they return for a three game set this weekend in Chase Field. So while the road trip as a whole should be considered a success, they can’t be excited about the teams play on the east coast that included two shutouts and six errors in the final five games.
Record Notes: In the opening game of the series the Dbacks were shutout for the seventh time marking the ninth time in their twelve losses in the second half that they were held to two or less runs. With their 7-6 loss on Wednesday the team dropped to 8-16 in one run games. Their overall record sits at 57-55 and they remain four games behind the Giants for first place.
GOOD: Starting Pitching. I’m going to clump the four of them in here although Kennedy’s outing was far from good. The other three: Miley, Corbin, and Saunders all put together quality starts allowing just four earned runs in their 19 innings of work without surrendering a homerun.
*Wade Miley tossed another great game for the Diamondbacks allowing just one unearned run in six innings of work. In his last four starts he’s allowed just four earned runs in 26 1/3 innings. Unfortunately he’s also only received two wins during that span since in his two losses the offense has mustered up a total of one run. Still, the rookie is sporting an impressive 2.85 ERA and has 12 wins as he appears to be as strong now as he was earlier in the season.
*Chris Johnson continues to swing the bat well collecting five more hits against the Pirates including a two homerun game on Tuesday. In his ten games with the Diamondbacks- all on the road- he has five homeruns and sixteen RBI’s. Before being acquired he had just eight homeruns all season. In his last 19 games the third baseman has hit .384 with seven homeruns, six doubles and twenty-two RBI’s.
*Stephen Drew is starting to see his line drives fall and had four hits and five runs against the Pirates. He also hit his second homerun of the season and collected his first three hit effort since June 12, 2011.
BAD: Jason Kubel went yard twice in yesterdays finale which was a welcome sign that hopefully his August woes are over. However, up to that point he was just 1 for 9 in the series with a single and zero walks. August has been a low point for Kubel as he’s gone just 5 for 30 (.167)- three of those hits were homeruns and he hasn’t walked in the last seven games. Still, Thursday’s multi-homerun game was the right fielders third time in the last twenty-one games he has completed the feat.
*Bullpen. The bullpen played two great games and two poor games this series. The first two games of the series they surrendered five earned runs over their first five innings of work blowing the lead in Corbin’s start and taking the loss. In the last two contests the relievers worked six innings while allowing just two hits and one earned run. J.J. Putz continues to be effective as he nailed down two ninth innings including his 21st save. He’s now given up just one hit over his last six innings of work while striking out eleven hitters.
UGLY: Ian Kennedy had his shortest outing of 2012 lasting just four innings while getting knocked around for eight hits and six runs- five earned. He gave up two more homeruns on the day and watched his ERA climbed up to 4.34. In his last six starts the team’s ace has allowed nine homeruns. It was the fourth time this year that Kennedy failed to make it through five innings and in his two starts against the Pirates this year he has allowed nine earned runs including three homeruns in just ten innings.
*Chris Young struggled through another series going just 1 for 12 without a walk. He has now gone eleven games without a walk and hasn’t recorded an RBI in his last eight games. He was tossed by the umps when he blew up after being rung up to end the inning with the bases loaded. Whether he liked the calls or not, in that situation the team needed a hit and to watch four straight pitches go by and end the inning watching a third strike is really unacceptable.
*Defense. The defense committed five errors in the series including three on Monday. It was their sixth error in the last five games and they had eight errors during their ten game road trip. Might want to tighten it up boys.
NOTES: *Joe Saunders threw his eighth quality start in his last nine appearances.
*On Thursday the offense struck out just four times- their fewest amount since July 22nd against the Astros. That’s a span of 16 games.
*The team returns home for a three game set against the first place Nationals starting Friday night with Trevor Cahill going head to head with Stephen Strasburg. It will be Strasburg’s Chase Field debut.
Now bring on the Nationals!!!
Follow me on Twitter at @ndougherty313 and our team at @venomstrikes.